The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) is the focal point of this year’s first online Klein Karoo Klassique concert series. CPO musicians will perform three of four concerts on Thursdays from 27 August to 10 September, 2020, with the Charl du Plessis Trio performing on 17 September, 2020.

“Although the 12th Klein Karoo Klassique, Oudtshoorn’s winter festival of classical music, art, food and wine could not be presented as planned this year due to Covid-19, we are very excited to announce the programme for our first digital Klein Karoo Klassique Concert Series,” says Hugo Theart, Artistic Director of Klein Karoo Klassique.

The Norval Wind Octet
The Norval Wind Octet

The 2020 line-up

27 August: Beethoven Triple Concerto
3 September: Mozart Wind Octets
10 September: Gounod’s Petite Symphonie
17 September: Charl du Plessis Trio in Ernen

A Klassique Package is available at R300 for all four concerts, or tickets can be bought for individual concerts at R100 each for Beethoven, Mozart and the Charl du Plessis Trio, and R75 for Gounod.

Buy Klein Karoo Klassique tickets at Quicket. Each concert will be available from 18:00 on the Thursday until midnight the following Monday, and performances can be viewed more than once during this time.

Peter Martens cello
Peter Martens Cello

Recorded on three continents 

The Beethoven Triple Concerto, a version transcribed for just piano, violin and cello and recorded on three continents with principal cello Peter Martens in Cape Town, pianist Bryan Wallick in the US and violinist Frank Stadler in Austria will be online on 27 August; two Mozart Octets for Wind Instruments, K 375 and 388 on 3 September and the Gounod Petite Symphonie for Wind Nonet on 10 September.

The recording on three continents of the Beethoven transcription was the idea of the CPO’s principal cello, Peter Martens. Recording remotely was one thing, on three continents another. “Both pianist Bryan Wallick now teaching in Colorado, and violinist Frank Stadler, who is concertmaster of the Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg, immediately shared my enthusiasm, and we recorded – first Bryan, then me, then Frank – within days of each other in three different cities. Videographer Julian Emdon has done an amazing job in Cape Town to mould the three individual voices into the whole they were envisaged to be”, says Martens.

For Wallick, it was exciting to work on this project. “It is something new and completely different to any other online concerts and videos available during this time of Covid-19. Working with artists on three different continents is challenging, yet something which I hope will yield a fulfilling demonstration of what is possible with today’s innovative technologies.”

Beethoven Triple project

For Frank Stadler, “Music-making is as essential for ourselves as it is for the audience. Being part of the Beethoven Triple project is satisfying beyond price; it brings back so many of the aspects of a fulfilled musician’s life: studying and playing the music, exchanging it with wonderful colleagues and sharing the result with a large audience.”

Simon Ball, the CPO’s associate principal bassoon, was the dreamer behind the Wind Octets. According to Ball, these three pieces are gems, and so often fall through the cracks because they are too small for orchestral organisations to worry about and too big (too expensive) for chamber music societies. “Once we had the Mozart octets with two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons and two horns, it just made sense to bring in our principal flute Gabriele von Dürckheim and programme the Gounod, part of which is considered to be basically an aria for flute”, he concludes.

The concert on September 17 by the Charl du Plessis Trio, was recorded in the spectacular St. Georg Church, at the 2017 Festival Musikdorf in Ernen, Switzerland. The programme consists of J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins, as well as a new creation by Du Plessis: a suite that combines music from Bach with jazz favourites. This suite includes Wachet Auf, ruft uns die Stimme, two parts from Anna Magdalena Notenbüchlein, Take the A Train and Chick Corea’s well-known Spain. The Charl du Plessis Trio comprises Du Plessis (piano), Werner Spies (bass) and Hugo Radyn (drums).

What: Klein Karoo Klassique concert series
When: 27 August – 17 September 2020

Tickets: Quicket
Enquiries: hugo@kunste.org.za , 083 324 2445, shirley@cpo.org.za, 071 318 1495
WS